Friday, October 17, 2014

You Know You Want Some

BBQ the Bucs
Big & Midge
#1 on your plate & #1 in your heart

Every  year to raise money for Relay for Life our local high school hosts a huge event called BBQ the Bucs.  (This is one of our big rivals.)  Teams sign up to compete in the category of their choice:  hamburgers, chicken or steak.  The competition is judged and winners are announced.  Who will be king of the grill?  

This is the 2nd year that Harry has competed with his friend Anthony.  The name of their team is Big & Midge.  You understand the name when you see the picture of them together.  :)  Harry and Anthony have been friends, I think, since they were 2.  Old friends are special, and theirs has always been an easy going friendship.  We love Ant.  

Last year Big & Midge came in 2nd.  Harry was not very happy with that.  He felt team Big & Midge deserved to win.  Since they didn't, those two redoubled their efforts.  Harry has been perfecting his steaks for a year.  I had one two weeks ago & it was absolutely incredible.  Juicy and a perfect medium...oh so good!  I'm not saying that as a proud mom, even though I am, I'm saying that as someone who's been slinging hash for over 20 years.  It's easy to mess up a steak.  (trust me, I've messed up 1 or 10 or 20.  Well, not really that many, but a good 5-7...)  Chicken is easy to grill, but I have a hard time grilling a good steak.  Harry has a secret ingredient he puts on his steaks that make them melt in your mouth.  I could tell you what it is, but I'm not.  :)  

For 2014, Big & Midge won the steak division of BBQ the Bucs.  So proud of those two.  They worked very hard to win.  They are #1 on your plate & #1 in your heart!  #bigandmidge  #grillkings & you know you want some!!! 

Celebrating being #1!  Congrats Big & Midge!!!
~ashley          

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

College Edition: 2.1

Well, it is a great day in our house.  Another child will be leaving the nest & heading down to the loveliest village on the plains in the fall of 2015.  Harry received his college acceptance "letter" today.  I have letter in quotation marks because you now find out if you get into college by logging onto the school website.  It's very endearing...said no parent ever.  How am I supposed to have a picture of his smiling face with said letter?  Should I take it with him holding his phone or in front of the computer?  I need paper.  (Kinda like I need a real human voice...)  I need to see the words: "Congratulations Harrison!  You've been accepted for the incoming freshman class to Auburn University".

I am excited for him, paper acceptance or no.  He has no idea what he is about to step into, but I know he and Auburn are going to get along splendidly.  Things have changed a lot in Auburn, but the spirit remains the same.  I love the Auburn Creed & hope that Harry will take the time to live out everything it says, because it's a really great way to go through life.  Now he is joining a much bigger family...the Auburn family.  It's hard to not get excited when your child is going to your alma mater.  I would hack off my arm to go back.  Those were some great years.  I remember how my dad was when I received my acceptance letter.  He was more excited than I was.  Harry is 4.2 to go to Auburn on my side.  (4th generation 2nd child)  I wish my parents were alive to celebrate with him too.

It's hard to see my babies grow up.  They start to leave as they get fun.  :/  Just had to share the happy news.  Congratulations Harry, I'm proud of you!  You're kind of a cool kid.  War Eagle!!!

Celebrating the big things in life,
~ashley        




Monday, October 13, 2014

Please Listen Closely...

...Because our automated menu has changed.

No, no, nonono.  Do you know how much I despise automated menus???  Um, A WHOLE LOT!  I really hate the ones that have the condescending voice with them.  "Ok, let me see if I can help you."  (Charter...)  No you can't help me because you can't talk to me!  You know who I want to talk to?  A real person, who speaks great English, because I live in America!  I've just started pressing '00' to get to a customer service representative every time I hear a d*%n automated voice.  I don't care if the company thinks it's faster, more efficient or better for their bottom line, I need a person. A real living breathing human, who can laugh at me if I do something totally stupid.

I actually changed credit card companies a few  years ago because I always got an automated answering service & it took 20 minutes to speak to a real person.  It didn't take 20 minutes because I was on hold, it took 20 minutes because it didn't  understand my '00', which everyone knows means put me through to the humans.  The system would just hang up on me.  I now use Capital One & you know what?  Every time, and I mean every time, I call I get a real person on the phone after a few rings.  They are chatty when I need them to be, always helpful and just happy.  They are located in Orlando, and I think that's why.  I wouldn't be surprised if Disney owns Capital One, because they are the DW of credit cards. (and no, I'm not a paid spokesperson, but they have my loyalty)  When Elizabeth was going out of the country a few years ago, and I was a slacker getting her a prepaid credit card she could use in Canada, which doesn't exist, Capital One hooked me  up & FedEx'ed me the card to make sure we had plenty of time before she left.  Their customer service is second to none.

You know, if you have good customer service, I'll become a very loyal patron.  If you don't hasta la vista, baby.  Mama don't have time to be listening to a machine.

Thanks for letting me get this off my back.  I have been dealing with automated systems this morning & I just want to jump through my phone and slap whomever thought this thing is a good idea.  Am I the only one who feels like that?  You know misery loves company so I would love to hear your funny stories with automated systems.  :)  OK, now I feel better.  Oh, gotta go, the '00' worked!

Celebrating life & talking to real people,
~ashley




Friday, October 10, 2014

Some People Just Have It

...and some of us try really hard to get it.  Once in a while we'll catch it, and the rest of the time we chase it.

I have realized that I'm a mediocre photographer at best.  Like that blind squirrel, I will occasionally find a nut.  When I take that one really great picture, you better believe that I will get it printed & share it!  I used to think I had potential...but sadly, I don't.  I'm just going to keep hoping I get lucky, and celebrate when I do.

You might be wondering what helped me realize my mediocrity?  It was my daughter, Elizabeth.  A few years ago I was taking pictures at one of Hop's football games & she wanted my camera to take pictures.  I thought, ok, why not?  She was only 12, and it was a chance for her to learn a few things about basic point and shoot photography.  I didn't see my camera for the rest of the night.  Now that I really think about it, I didn't see my camera a lot.  I was fine with it though, because when we looked through her pictures, they were always much better than mine.  Not just a little bit better, but a lot better.  She just seemed to capture the moment perfectly.


She just sees things differently better than I do.  The more practice she has the better she gets.  Every time I go through her pictures I'm amazed at how she captures, well, everything.  For the love, she made a picture of a basketball goal look amazing.  I know what you're thinking, it's a basketball goal net, what's so special about it?  It's the lighting, and the blue of the sky, angle of the net, it's just everything.  Not everything she takes a picture of turns out well, and we have a great laugh a those pictures, but she tries to find out what she can learn from those shots.  Always learning and always trying to do her best.

I recently did a few look books of my favorite pieces for her to show people her work.  (in all honesty, I could probably make 10 of them)  Some of the pictures make me laugh, some make me cry, and some make me want to write.  Am I biased, maybe a little.  But, one thing I do know, she has a natural talent and I'm a wanna be.  :)  We have fun with it.  She is the teacher, and I will try to be a good student.  If I could just get the hang of aperture.... :)

Celebrating life & appreciating children's talents,
~ashley      

Friday, September 12, 2014

525600 Minutes - 102

How do you measure a year in the life?  Yesterday was 9/11.  Do you remember?  Do you remember where you were that Tuesday 13 years ago?  I do.  It took 102 minutes from start to finish.  102 minutes that have changed everything for the United States of America.  I still can't talk about it without crying.  I'm not from New York and I didn't have a family member killed that day, but my heart hurts just the same.  I so wish I could forget, but our country can never go back.  I imagine this is how my grandparents felt about December 7th.  

I watched a special last night on TLC about the 102 minutes.  It was foreboding knowing what was going to happen.  I was heartbroken knowing that the firemen I saw on the screen probably did not make it out of the buildings alive.  I could feel the panic among all the people filming & watching the first tower & then the pandemonium that erupted when the second plane flew into the second tower.  At first there was the unknown question of why is one of the towers was on fire.  Paper everywhere, shrapnel coming off the building; billows of smoke; fire; people jumping....  I remember when I heard someone on tv say there were people jumping, my heart dropped.  Then you see it, the second plane coming in & directly smash into the building.  I saw it happen on tv.  I thought I was dreaming.

For her history class, Elizabeth had to ask me questions about that day.  How am I supposed to pinpoint just one thing?  Because I can't.  Can anyone who is old enough to remember that day just choose one thing that defines that day?  There is one image that I think of immediately as how we as a country felt that day.  I have scoured the internet looking for it, but can't find it.  It is an American woman who was in England on 9/11.  Someone hung a US flag from a tree & you see her holding the flag to her face & weeping into it.  When I think of that day, I think of how we all mourned as a country, no matter where you were.  I noticed there was no looting that day.  There was no added violence outside of the 4 terrorist attacks that I remember.  There was a singularity of being and purpose.  We were Americans & we stand together.


For the year of 2001, our country lived 525498 minutes, because we died a little that day.  102 minutes, that's it.  4 planes, 2 skyscrapers, 1 government building, 1 field in Pennsylvania.  102 minutes that have defined us for 13 years.  It's time for us to remember why we were crushed that day.  We need to say 'No More' to the terrorists that brought this to our doorstep.  It's time for the sleeping giant to awaken, and we need to be the America we were on 9/11/2001.

Celebrating Life & living in the great country in the world,
~ashley

  

 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Just Be Nice

Raising children can be hard.  Let me rephrase, dealing with other people's children can be hard. My children are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some things they know.  They know what the expectations are for them in almost every situation.  (They should, we go over them enough.)  They know that when I say no, I mean no.  They know that when Hopson & I look at them 'that way' they better cease and desist what they are doing, or they will have consequences.  Other people's children may not know these things.  

There are so many things I want for my children.  I pray for my children to be kind.  I want them to have the courage to stand up for people who can't stand up for themselves.  I want them to be a good friend in both word and deed.  I want them to be unafraid to love people, even when others hurt or are mean to them.  I want them to be bold in their knowledge of truth; be able to see it; call it what it is; and be unafraid to stand for it.  You know the real reason I want this?  Because mean people suck.  I know that it's not nice to say that, but it's true.

I have questions, and the more I read and experience life, it seems the more I have.  It's a little frustrating, because it seems many of the questions breed more questions.  I think most of them center around human behavior, and if I could figure out the answers to all the questions I have, I would easily be a best selling author.  :)  But since I have no answers...here I sit.

So with all that said...help your children learn to be nice.  Help your children learn to show others their friendship.  Words are cheap.  It is up to you to be the example your children can learn from.  Don't let celebrities be your children's role models, that's your job.   If you're one of those parents, either intentionally or unintentionally, raising "mean kids", let me tell you, hey thanks.  You know why?  Because, mean people suck, just be nice.

Celebrating life & being nice,
~ashley      

     

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Let Me Sleep

For some reason, I find this article hilarious!
For the love of Pete, LET ME SLEEP.

But, don't tell me when to sleep; where to sleep; or how to sleep.

I have found that as I have gotten older I am sleeping less and less.  My mother-in-law told me this would happen.  I really hoped she was making it up, but she wasn't.  I have noticed that I am sleepiest around 8-9, but if I can stay up to 11, I can stay up all night.  Or rather I will stay up at least until 3am.  It would be great, if I were a vampire.  Since I'm not it really stinks.

If you are on social media in the middle of the night it is amazing the number of friends who are wide awake with you.  Last month I posted on facebook "I love insomnia, insomnia's my favorite" with a few cute emojies with it.  Someone made me giggle by writing back for me to make sleep my favorite.  Trust me, if I could make sleep my favorite I would.

I'm an early bird, so when the sunshine is awake, so am I.  It doesn't matter how little sleep I've had, if the sun is up my eyes are open.  In the middle of the night, little sounds that no else in my house would stir to will jolt me out of bed:  a little scratch on the door; a dog chewing on a shoe; a child staring me down in the bed; people and animals snoring; and the buzzing of my phone charger.  It's pretty annoying.

I saw the picture above today & when I started reading it, I had to giggle.  I do want to sleep, badly, but like I said already, don't tell when, were or how.  I love the line above that says "...persuade her to get a few extra hours snuggling under the duvet.  Or face the consequences."  Yeah, whatever.  I don't do well with those kinds of commands, and if I'm hot, I don't want to snuggle.  Hopson likes to tell me that I might be able lose a little more weight if I had more sleep.  Well thank you very much captain obvious.  (On a side note, I LOVE the new Captain Obvious commercials, they are hilarious.)  Now, all I need to do is figure out a way to sleep.  I don't take sleeping pills, I hate to take any kind of medicine really.  Have you ever read the possible side effects of different meds...I will say no thank you to those.  I am turning into my MeMaw; she would be so proud.  I will occasionally take melatonin, but I need at least 8 hours of sleep, and that won't work if I'm going to bed after 10.  (which is most nights)  :/

Fortunately or unfortunately, I know so many moms who are in the same boat as I am in.  Too much to do with so little time.  :)  Occupational hazard I guess.  So, until I figure out how to get more sleep, if you see me on facebook or other social media very late at night or early in the morning, stop by & say hey.  We'll commiserate together, because as the saying goes:  misery loves company.  :)

Celebrating Life & wishing for a few more minutes of sleep,
~ashley